“We hurt people by being too busy. Too busy to notice their needs. Too busy to drop that note of comfort or encouragement or assurance of love. Too busy to listen when someone needs to talk. Too busy to care.”
“The smallest package in the world is a person who is all wrapped up in himself.”
“Gratitude is one of the greatest Christian virtues; ingratitude, one of the most vicious sins.”
“Grumbling and gratitude are, for the child of God, in conflict. Be grateful and you won’t grumble. Grumble and you won’t be grateful.”
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is constantly calling us to “Come!” He wants to draw us nearer to God’s presence. But sin separates. Let me be more specific and more personal: My sin can make me believe I can’t come closer to God.
In Psalm 99:8, notice how the psalmist focuses first on God’s forgiveness, and then on His punishment. It’s as though he is saying, “Yes, God punishes sin, but He is first and foremost a forgiving God”—
…You were to Israel a forgiving God, though You punished their misdeeds. (Psalm 99:8)
God is slow to anger, but He must punish sin. His punishment is always to encourage reconciliation. He wants to remove the sin that separates us. This has always been His focus since the very first sin.
In fact the next psalm celebrates coming into God’s presence with joy—
This should encourage me all the more to quickly confess my sin and repent from it, so that I can once again answer the Holy Spirit’s call to come deeper into God’s presence.
But I want to make the case for practicing gratitude all year long!
There are emotional, physical, psychological and relational benefits to being a thanks-filled person. Truly those with grateful hearts have strong, healthy hearts … both physically and emotionally.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense out of our past, brings peace for today, and create a vision for tomorrow.” —John Maxwell
Please join me the next two Sundays at Calvary Assembly of God as I share some of the medical research and biblical truths that will reveal the year-round, whole-person benefits of being grateful.
Satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.
Does that describe you? Sadly, it’s describing fewer and fewer of us today. But saddest of all: Very few Christians describe themselves as being content!
But godliness with contentment is great gain. …If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (1 Timothy 6:6, 8)
Both godliness and contentment are choices we must make. I choose to be godly, and I choose to be content. The default—the natural course for us—is selfishness. The pull toward my gain and my pleasure is strong. So I must exert great energy to pursue godliness; I must make the conscious decision to be content.
Give us this day our daily bread should be the prayer request in the morning.
Thank You, God, for providing food and clothing for today should be the prayer of thanks in the evening.
Today if you have more than food and clothing, how much more blessed you are!
Choose godliness. Choose contentment. And watch and see God provide great gain for you!
I did it! One year and 1095 unique things for which I am thankful. It was a great exercise which I may do again in the future. For now, I’m contemplating how I’d like to handle my next foray into recording areas of gratitude. Below is the original list from November 2009 through November 2010.
I’m attempting to find three unique things every day for one year for which I am thankful. This will total up to 1095 items at the end of the year. If you’d like to try this, you can try to list just one item or two items every day. Otherwise, feel free to follow along with me.
Yesterday we wrapped up our Season Of Thanks series by looking at how God sometimes sends difficult people in our lives to make us better. It’s when difficult people rattle us that we find out what’s really inside of us, so we should be thankful for their involvement in our lives.
With that thought still in my mind, I stumbled across a couple of tweets this morning which are good reminders of this thought—
There are only two ways to take people: You can take people for granted or you can take people with gratitude.
If you take people for granted, you will probably end up losing that relationship, or at the very least that relationship won’t be very fulfilling.
But when you take people with gratitude, you can bring out the best in them, in you, and in your relationship.
Paul wrote to the Colossian church that every time he thought of them, he was grateful for them and he prayed for them. This is The Gratitude Cycle: being thankful for someone prompts prayers for them, and those prayers make us even more grateful for them, which fires up the Gratitude Cycle all over again.
In case you need help knowing what to pray for the people for whom you are thankful, check out Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-12. He prayed…
…for knowledge, wisdom & understanding of God’s will for their lives, and the power to live out that new knowledge of Him.
…for endurance—a virtue that never loses patience with, belief in, or hope for others.
…for patience—the ability to turn tough things into glorious things.
…with gratitude for them—especially with gratitude for who they were: God’s holy people.
Any time is a good time for us to be full of thanks, so make sure you are full of thanks for the people God has placed in your life. And when you feel thankful for them, be sure you are prayerful for them too.
Then I walked around the corner and noticed my office door standing open. “I know I closed that door,” I said. The hair on the back of my neck stood up, and I could feel all my muscles starting to tense. I walked into my office and saw the mess. I looked more closely at my office door and saw it had been jimmied open. So too had the office door.
Someone broke into the church. We had been robbed!
I made an inventory through the church, called the sheriff, and called our Board members. What else was there to do? I returned to my office, sat down in my chair, and looked around my office. Two thoughts overwhelmed me:
1. All of the things that were taken were replaceable. I am grateful that the things that have sentimental value to me were left untouched.
2. The words from Matthew Henry’s journal on the day he was robbed immediately came to mind:
“Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before; second, because, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I that robbed.”
So sitting in my office waiting for the sheriff deputy to arrive I prayed. I thanked God for His protection, and I prayed for the desperate individual who broke in. Clearly, this is someone who is at their wit’s end. Our thief is someone who needs my prayers, not my scorn.
I still feel violated. I still had a sick feeling in my stomach all day (and even now as I recall the events of yesterday). But I also remain grateful to God for His protection, and I’m continuing to pray for our thief that in His desperation He will meet this same loving God.